Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Live Blogging with ONB President Alex Buenaventura

One Network Bank President Alex Buenaventura is upbeat about the country's future after hearing the State of the Nation Address of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III.

"Never have we had a committed President since the time of President Corazon Aquino and Fidel V. Ramos," he said.

Buenaventura said the Filipino people will be able to see an improvement in the Philippine economy in a few months' time with the perceived increase in investors' confidence to the Philippines and the expected increase in foreign investments here.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cheez Wiz launches Palamantasan in Davao City

I did not expect my trip to the Buhangin Central Elementary School last July 17 to become a trip back to my elementary school days when I lived for competitions both in essay writing and in poster making. The festive atmosphere and the excitement of the whole school can be felt even from the gates as students dressed in colorful yellow but home-made costumes move from one classroom to another, apparently getting jittery for their scheduled performances after lunch.

The occasion? The launch of Kraft Cheez Whiz Palamantasan ng Sarap. This is the first interschool competition involving grade school students nationwide, in a quest to promote nutrition education.

How about 8 million Filipino malnourished children as inspiration?

“This is actually the first time we are holding this in Davao City, alongside with the Cebu launch,” Kraft Foods Cheez Whiz senior brand manager Paolo Serrano said before the afternoon program started.

Serano said “we want the children to realize the value of nutrition in a fun way so we have prepared creative activities for them”

Students of the Buhangin Central Elementary School participated in the following Palamantasan contests with the specific winners:

Essay Writing Contest
Ella Mae Eborda ( VI-AQUAMARINE)
Jarchitecture or Jar Art
Jayson Tragura (VI) and Sherwin Lance De Leon (VI) for their SUPER CHEEZ WHIZ SANDWICH entry

Sandwich Art
Dave Forro & Mommy Debbie for their recipe PALAMANTASYA HANEP SA PAGMAMAHAL SANDWICH

Cheering Competition CHEEZ CHEERERS with the following members:
Ornalyn Caorte, Tricia Mae Palicte, Carla Dalisay, Angel Mae Manding, Shannen Valenzuela, Krizel Myke Perez, Momina Joy Fiel, Paul Joshua Alicauay, Lindon Osing and Kimberly Mesias.

Speech Choir or Sabayang Bigkas THE 6 TEAM with the following members:
Christian Galendez , Ma. Eula Concepcion Umayao, Jeather Penanueva, Mark Jame Naya, Ryca Madanio, Mechaela Mepiesa, Jessa Lou Bernal, Ivan Bishar, Angelica Coquilla, Alexandra Guitguiten, Mariel Lapitan, Lady Irish Guitguitin, Cherry May Medila, Jeelenee Jayson De Claro, Cristy Cristino, Marialyn Cabase, Jay-Ar Baliong, Angelica Nicole Manriquez, Jasper Marc Chan and Grace Joyce Padios.

“We are encouraging the different schools to Join Palamantasan so they can help promote good nutrition not only to their students but also to the people in general,” Serrano said. Most children are suffering from lack of nutrition—some are underweight while others are undernourished----and by getting their daily dose of Cheez Whiz which contains Calcium, their bones will get the necessary strengthening it requires, he added.

Parents, student and educators alike are encouraged to Make a Pledge to stay away from unhealthy foods and only serve and eat nutritious food.

Buhangin Central Elementary School principal Arturo dela Cruz said he was surprised with the turnout of the Palamantasan since he thought it was just an ordinary activity. It was rally a major event, with tarpaulins strewn all over the school.

“The first time I was told about this even by Kraft Cheez Whiz I said we will just join the easier ones like the essay writing and the sandwich art because the other competitions like Sabayang Bigkas will require more preparation,” dela Cruz said. However, he added, he was assured by the coaches that they will be able to meet the deadline so the school was able to join all the events.

Several schools nationwide have already indicated their commitment to Join Palamantasan and its various events. After all, promoting good nutrition is a very worthy endeavour and with the support of Kraft Cheez Whiz, every Palamantasan event will surely be a big hit!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

DSWD to identify poorest of the poor in Davao Region

Will the poorest of the poor stand up?

The new administration under President Benigno Simeon Aquino III, through the Department of Social Welfare and Development, will finally be able to tell who among the Filipinos are really poor once the results of the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) are out by September this year.

NHTS-PR is an information management system that identifies who and where the poor households are.

“We have lots of data on poverty but none which says where and who are the real poor,” NHTS-PR regional focal person Desiree N. Piñgol said. With the use of the NHTS-PR which started March 2009, she said, the government hopes to have a definition of what “poor:” really means.

Just like the Census, hundreds of enumerators will be going from house to house not to inquire how much income the household is getting on a monthly or yearly basis. Instead, they will interview the households based on proxy means variables or factors that represents their economic condition,

There are actually 34 variables that will be considered by the System when making the ranking of the poorest of the poor including the physical condition of the house, ownership of assets, educational attainment of the household members and even their ability to access the basic social services.

“Each of these factors has its own value and it is the system which will rank them to come up with a clear picture of the economic status of the household involved,” she said.

This is actually a convergence of efforts of all the government agencies tasked to alleviate the country’s poverty level, she said. By knowing the real definition of poor and their exact location, she added, the agencies will be able to target the same people who need the government’s help and will ultimately maximize the budget to aid poor Filipinos. The database will also be shared with non government agencies and civil society groups.

Piñgol said there are many government programs and agencies to alleviate poverty in the country and yet poverty incidence is still high. The number of poor Filipinos has ballooned from 4.3 million in 2003 to 4.6 million in 2006.

“Baka hindi na target ng services yung mga totoong mahirap na nangangailangan ng tulong (maybe the programs were not able to target the poorest of the poor who really needs help),” she added.

She said a total of 495,150 families in Region XI have been enumerated. Based on the 2006 Census, they have identified areas where the poverty incidence is more than 50% or less.

Saturation efforts (everyone was included in the survey by the enumerators) were conducted among provinces where there is more than 50% poverty incidence. Random survey was conducted among provinces where there are only pockets of poverty.

Among the municipalities included in the random survey are Don Marcelino, Sta. Maria, Laak, Taragona and Talaingod. Jose Abad Santos and Sarangani were however included in the saturation drive as they have a poverty incidence of more than 50%.

“The result of the survey is expected to be more reliable because every encoder has his own account and all encoded items are validated,” she said. They will then run the Proxy Means Test results which will be posted in the different barangays to make sure it is correct.

She said the local verification committee will verify that the results are indeed accurate.

Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4P)

In the meantime, the DSWD provides temporary relief to the poor Filipino people through the 4Ps or the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. This is a 5-year poverty reduction strategy of the government that assists the poorest households by providing monthly cash subsidy and is now on its second year. It aims to help improve the health, nutrition and education of children.

“As of December 2009, a total of P271.914 million have been released in Region XI for the Program,” regional 4Ps focal person Merlita A. Paragama said. It has so far reached out to 49,899 beneficiaries.

Under the 4Ps, a household without school children is entitled to a P500 monthly allowance. The maximum amount a family (with children) can get is P4,200 for every quarter.

“We have noted an increase in the enrolment rate in Davao Oriental since the program was implemented in 2008,” she said.

While the 4P program has received a lot of flak for doling out money to the poor, Paragama said the goal of the program is really to provide the immediate needs of the poor families such as money to buy food.

“The program also aims to break the inter-regional cycle of poverty by targeting health and education,” she said. Most people do not appreciate the value of education because what they need immediately is food for their grumbling stomachs.

With the program, children of poor families are encouraged to go to school because they are given the money for their subsistence provided they strictly follow the checklist of the program. If the list of requirements, such as continued schooling is not followed, then they are either suspended from the program or ultimately terminated.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Dengue scare in Davao Region

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan has passed a resolution declaring the Province of Davao del Sur in a state of calamity due to the continued rise in dengue cases in the Province.

“A total of 600 dengue cases have been noted in the province with Digos City on top of the list,” Davao del Sur provincial information officer Nilda Aniñon said during a press conference held at the Philippine Information Agency two weeks ago.

Aniñon said this is followed by Bansalan with 95 dengue cases, Sta. Cruz with 52 dengue cases and Malalag with 26 dengue cases. Dengue has also claimed the lives of 14 people from the Province, majority are from Digos City.

Expected to follow said declaration last Friday is Digos City, with 10 lives in the city already claimed by dengue. Digos City Mayor Joseph Peñas said the dengue cases in the city have reached an alarming level and the local government has to act now to prevent further deaths.

Davao City has not been spared from dengue cases, with 14 deaths due to dengue registered in the city for the first half of the year. While reports from the City Health Office shows a decrease in the number of dengue cases in the city from 1,690 in January to June 2009 to 1,130 dengue cases for the same period this year.

Davao City has the most number of dengue cases in Southern Mindanao, followed by Davao del Norte with only 220 dengue cases. Health officials here however said the higher number of dengue cases in the city can be attributed to the larger population of the city and the accessibility of health institutions in the city which makes it easy for the public to report an infection.


While the term dengue used to have an evil connotation no thanks to the word itself which was based on the phrase “Ki denga pepo” from Swahili which means an evil spirit cased cramp-like seizure, there is really nothing un-spiritual about dengue.

The culprit has been identified as the Aedes aegypti mosquito which usually bites during the early part of the day. While it is not contagious, a person infected by the dengue virus can also become a source once bitten by a mosquito.

A person bitten by the carrier mosquito can develop a fever within 6 days after the transmission of the virus. Among the symptoms are headaches, nausea and vomiting, high-grade fever,, rashes on the skin and even nose or gum bleeding. However, it is important to have the patient diagnosed for dengue through a blood test the soonest possible time.

Preventing Dengue

One of the best ways to prevent dengue is to clean the surroundings, ridding your environment of plants , old bottles and rubber tires that can serve as habitats for mosquitoes.

However, those who want to be assured of more protection opt for mosquito repellents with DEET or Diethymetatoluamide. While it does not kill mosquitos and other insects per se, DEET can prevent mosquito bites.

DEET works by masking the smell of carbon dioxide usually given off by the human skin. And since insects hunt for their meal by following the scent of carbon dioxide, DEET fools the mosquitos into getting their bite elsewhere.
Insect repellents like OFF Lotion can however be highly priced at about P30 for the smallest tube and P120 for the largest repellent.

Enterprising companies (like Johnson & Sons, Inc—the company behind OFF Lotion) have also started selling anti-mosquito candles like the Citronella Bucket to give people more options when it comes to protecting themselves from mosquitos and in effect from dengue.

The anti-mosquito candle is not only protective, but it can also provide a more relaxing atmosphere. The wax can burn for up to 50 hours. You can also get the traditional anti-mosquito coil for a cheaper option.

You can also go for the natural way of preventing mosquito bite sand that is through the use of the oil of lemon eucalyptus, which is derived from plants.
But if you want the age-old method of protecting yourself from mosquitos, the use of mosquito net which is very affordable at P100 to P300 depending on its size, is perhaps the best option for the bedroom

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